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Summary Report for:
27-3042.00 - Technical Writers

Write technical materials, such as equipment manuals, appendices, or operating and maintenance instructions. May assist in layout work.

Sample of reported job titles: Documentation Designer, Documentation Specialist, Engineering Writer, Expert Medical Writer, Information Developer, Narrative Writer, Requirements Analyst, Senior Technical Writer, Technical Communicator, Technical Writer

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Organize material and complete writing assignment according to set standards regarding order, clarity, conciseness, style, and terminology. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Maintain records and files of work and revisions. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Edit, standardize, or make changes to material prepared by other writers or establishment personnel. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Select photographs, drawings, sketches, diagrams, and charts to illustrate material. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Interview production and engineering personnel and read journals and other material to become familiar with product technologies and production methods. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Develop or maintain online help documentation. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Assist in laying out material for publication. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Study drawings, specifications, mockups, and product samples to integrate and delineate technology, operating procedure, and production sequence and detail. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Arrange for typing, duplication, and distribution of material. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Observe production, developmental, and experimental activities to determine operating procedure and detail. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Review manufacturer's and trade catalogs, drawings and other data relative to operation, maintenance, and service of equipment. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Analyze developments in specific field to determine need for revisions in previously published materials and development of new material. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Draw sketches to illustrate specified materials or assembly sequence. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Review published materials and recommend revisions or changes in scope, format, content, and methods of reproduction and binding. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Confer with customer representatives, vendors, plant executives, or publisher to establish technical specifications and to determine subject material to be developed for publication. See more occupations related to this task.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Desktop computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Digital cameras — Compact digital cameras See more occupations related to this tool.
  • High capacity removable media drives — Universal serial bus USB flash drives See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Notebook computers — Laptop computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Personal computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Scanners — Computer data input scanners See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Charting software — Microsoft Office Visio See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD software; PTC Pro/ENGINEER software; SolidWorks CAD software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Computer based training software — Adobe Systems Adobe Captivate See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Configuration management software — IBM Rational ClearCase See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Data base reporting software — Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer; SAP BusinessObjects Crystal Reports See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Data base user interface and query software — Author-it; Microsoft Access; Structured query language SQL; Talisma Knowledgebase (see all 5 examples) See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Data mining software — IBM Cognos 8 Business Intelligence See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe FrameMaker; Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign; Corel Ventura; PTC Arbortext See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Development environment software — Darwin information typing architecture DITA; IBM Rational ClearQuest; Microsoft Visual Basic; Standardized general markup language SGML See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Electronic mail software — IBM Lotus Notes; Microsoft Outlook See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Enterprise application integration software — Extensible markup language XML See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Graphical user interface development software — Adobe Systems Adobe RoboHelp See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop software; Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite; Corel Paint Shop Pro See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Internet browser software — Web browser software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Network conferencing software — Microsoft Office SharePoint Server MOSS See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Object or component oriented development software — Sun Microsystems Java See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Project management software — Microsoft Project See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Web page creation and editing software — Adobe Systems Adobe Dreamweaver; Adobe Systems Adobe Flash Player; JustSystems XMetaL; Quadralay WebWorks ePublisher See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Web platform development software — Hypertext markup language HTML; JavaScript; Microsoft ASP.NET; Sun Microsystems JavaServer Pages JSP (see all 6 examples) See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word See more occupations related to this technology.

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Knowledge

  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Communications and Media — Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction. See more occupations related to this knowledge.

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Skills

  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action. See more occupations related to this skill.

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Abilities

  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged. See more occupations related to this ability.

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Work Activities

  • Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Confer with clients to determine needs. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Review details of technical drawings or specifications. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Draw detailed or technical illustrations. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Design layouts for print publications. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Edit written materials. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Compile technical information or documentation. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Write informational material. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Determine presentation subjects or content. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Coordinate logistics for productions or events. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor current trends. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maintain records, documents, or other files. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Research new technologies. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Work Context

  • Electronic Mail — 74% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 76% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 75% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Sitting See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 76% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 66% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 65% responded “A lot of freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 48% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 75% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Telephone — 38% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Contact With Others — 30% responded “Contact with others about half the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 41% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 46% responded “More than 40 hours.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 22% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 34% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 55% responded “Limited freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Letters and Memos — 47% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 41% responded “Moderate results.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 18% responded “Important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Deal With External Customers — 45% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 25% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Level of Competition — 42% responded “Highly competitive.” See more occupations related to this work context.

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Education Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Related Experience A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Job Zone Examples Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.
SVP Range (7.0 to < 8.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
35   Associate's degree
33   Bachelor's degree
16   Some college, no degree

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: AIC

  • Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow. See more occupations related to this interest.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction. See more occupations related to this work style.

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Work Values

  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement. See more occupations related to this work value.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2014) $33.19 hourly, $69,030 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 50,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Faster than average (15% to 21%) Faster than average (15% to 21%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 22,600
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

  • Technical Writers external site. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

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